Tens and Ones: Partitioning Numbers

Why learn to partition numbers into tens and ones?

Partitioning into tens and ones will help your little learners understand numbers in place value terms. The ability to partition a number will also be incorporated into more advanced addition and subtraction as your students progress. For example, in older grades, when they are asked to add 43 and 22, they could add 40 + 20 and 3 + 2 to find 65. This can be challenging for students without a solid understanding of how numbers can be partitioned.

Tens and Ones in Number Names

You will also notice that after 20, we describe numbers with their tens value first (25 - twenty five, with the five ones spoken last). The teen numbers can be confusing as we label the ones value first (16 - sixteen, the six ones are spoken first). Having students partition numbers with equipment and describe them ‘one ten and six ones’ helps them to see that despite their spoken label, the place value position is in keeping with our other numbers.

Math Pack Printable Math Activities

We recently listed Math Pack 29 in our TpT store and Pond VIP

Math Pack 29 will help you reinforce the concept of partitioning numbers into tens and ones. It deals with numbers from 1 to 100.

Our Math Packs give you a series of hands-on activities that:

  • focus on one growing skill area in a math topics,
  • sequence learning by scaffolding skill development
  • engage learners with appealing, bright, vibrant skill-focused visuals
  • include a follow-up or recording work page
Math Pack 29 will help students learning to:
  • partition quantities into tens and ones
  • write 2 digit numbers {with notice of tens/ones}
  • work with and explore tens/ones
  • work with a numeral expander
  • analyze 2 digit numbers {in terms of tens/ones}

Robot Tens and Ones

Today I would like to show you in more detail, the activity: Robot Tens and Ones

Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities

Here students will estimate a scoop of 'ones' and group them into tens. They will also count the remaining ones.

Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities

This activity is valuable as it sees students making groups of objects to clearly make each ten and section them off. Other place value games may see students using tens that have already been grouped. Provide them the opportunity to step it back a little and group those tens for themselves.
Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities
Students need the opportunity to 'make a ten' rather than just being given the 'ten' to work with.

Here students can verbalize their collection in terms of tens and ones. "5 tens and 2 ones. This number is 52".

I have provided a recording page if you would like students to record their learning and practice writing the number. I would encourage using your available time for as much hands-on activity as possible however, the focus is on making the tens, not being able to record them - that is a focus for another day.

Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities

Students could also record on scrap paper or a dry-erase board. Encourage the labelling of tens and ones, not simply the total. 

Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities

All of our Maths Pack activities can be used in a structured game rotation program, as math centers or in guided math. Once taught, they also make fantastic 'fast-finisher' activities for revision of key concepts also. 

Place Value Partition Tens and Ones Activities

Each of the 5 small-group activities in our Math Packs have:
  • detailed instructions
  • playing cards/boards/templates
  • a worksheet (either a recording worksheet or a fun-follow-up)
  • a cover page to help you organize your resources for future reference
Find Math Pack 29, which includes Robot Tens and Ones in our TpT store HERE

Free Activity for Grouping Objects into Tens

I've also make a fun worksheet activity for students to complete. Here they will circle groups of ten robots from the collection. 


Here they will realize how important it is to be able to group or partition numbers into tens and ones in order to understand the value of large collections. Perhaps ask them to estimate how many tens and/or ones will be in this collection before they start. Who will get the closest estimation?



Find this worksheet activity free in Google Drive: Find the tens robot worksheet

Hop back through the blog to find more ideas for teaching place value!

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